The promise of computers for architects, even way back in 1985, wasn’t that they were faster than hand methods for design and documentation. The promise was re-usability and the time savings that would come from not starting from scratch on every job.
When I retired from active practice in 2012, I would say we had achieved only about 30-40% of what’s possible. In hindsight I can see that I would have had to make it a strategic project for the firm, and lead the effort, and use every project to move us forward. Since I was already wearing about 7 or 8 hats, I didn't make the time for this new hat. That’s a regret because more success with effective computer use would have provided more money and time to pursue everything else. I'm sure that one or two of those hats I was wearing was getting more ’head time’ than was needed.
- Project Management
- Standard Processes
- Templates of all sorts
- Checklists of all sorts
- Cost estimating
- Fee calculation
- Standard wall construction details
- Lintel, painting, sealant, insulation, and specialties schedules
- Door and frame details, and elevations
- Window details
- Re-usable keynotes
- SpecNotes that replace specs
So in design, what is a candidate? By design I mean the layout, look and feel of the building. This is a list off the top of my head
- All the ADA stuff, which you don’t have much choice about anyway - toilet rooms, fire/exit stairs, mounting heights,
- Room layouts such as offices, conference rooms, classrooms, coffee bars, kitchenettes, printer/copier station and other incidental spaces.
- Would you include 3D design as a time-saving tool?
The uniqueness of buildings keeps this list short. And it will probably always remain short. Project documentation and other office functions make up the lion’s share of the time we spend, so the real opportunities for time savings lie there. In those areas, if we use computers well, then more time is created for the important stuff - design.
Orig post date: 1/12/14